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Future of Site - Discussion

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50 minutes ago, bloodycrashboy said:

so why is everyone still talking of donations

we should be talking hosting options

This.

GMH-Torana was running years before this site and is still running today for a 1/4 of the cost.

 

:sofa:

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One of their sponsors is "Direct Support" who do hosting, so it's possible the hosting is free or close to it because of that sponsor arrangement. :idunno:

 

You're a higher-up on that forum, aren't ya? If so, find out the details and send 'em over to Chris to consider as an option. :stickpoke:

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Just an observation regarding advertising

 

On the home page here there are 3 advertisements all reasonably dull in appearance and I have absolutely no interest in even looking at them

all 3 are not anything to do with this site, ie not car specific 

one add I can even turn off (one of the 2 Google adds)

in 5 years of using this site I have never clicked on an advert 

 

another site I use has 7 adds on the home page, colorful and intriguing (they do not detract from the aesthetics of the site)

all 7 adds are site specific and I'm tempted to take a look, and have on occasion  

they are also all at the top 1/4 of the page

 

here we have 2 at the top of the home page and 1 way down the bottom where I doubt many of us go

 

Edit: this other site has 75,000 members, 1,000,000 posts and 76,000 threads

so very similar stats to us

but I would hazard a guess that the revenue for their adverts is a lot higher than us

Edited by bloodycrashboy

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7 hours ago, CJF077 said:

Had to chip in here. The site hosting costs it is on a dedicated server costs over $300 a month without any upgrades, modifications, add ons.

I can assure you this is no cash grab. If it cost $500 a year we would not be having this conversation as advertising would cover the costs more than enough. But we are not.

Why do you think a site like this needs to run off a dedicated server?

Maybe 15+ years ago this was the key, but these days technology and price have closed significantly. 

 

These days you can get SSD powered VPS’ for a 1/4 of that price and still adequately serve with great performance. 

 

I’ve got examples running right now that have far greater utilisation than a forum site would have. 

 

How about be factual and provide details about the MySQL database size, storage utilisation, monthly bandwidth utilisation. Being a physical server what cpu and ram configuration does it have? And how many other sites does hostwise solutions also run on the same server?  

 

I see that web01 has moved from servers Australia to liquid web around August 2017. 

 

Servers Australia have dedicated servers, 2 socket, 8gb of ram with twin ssd storage at $107/ month. Quite arguably more than enough for this site. Liquid web on the other hand, starting at $199usd/ month for quite a beefy system upgrade.

Quite arguably a question why this site was moved from servers Australia to liquid web a year ago unless there is other drivers for this, 

So begs the question.. what else is this server hosting? There is 26 other reverse resolving sites to the same dedicated server. 

 

My original statement still holds, this site shouldn’t cost over $500/year in conventional hosting, but since you are managing director of adviceit / t360 you should know this.

Clearly this server is used for that business, not solely for fordxr6turbo.com is it?! given there is only web01.adviceit.com.au and no web02 etc. 

 

Sorry champ. Cash grab is all I see.

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Many thoughtful suggestions above.

 

My suggestion might be too dramatic at this stage, but I could see reason one day to create an archive of the site, provide it to libraries so that the resource is always available on the basis that making and playing with our own cars is part of Australian culture and the stories around that will require preservation to play to audiences in 50 and 100 years time.

 

The resource is valuable, but to hold it on line as free to anyone is to actually trash that value. Access will need to be paywalled in some form or other.

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11 hours ago, Headsex said:

Why do you think a site like this needs to run off a dedicated server?

Maybe 15+ years ago this was the key, but these days technology and price have closed significantly.

To be honest with you it probably doesnt anymore. Due to previous server load, it was always recommended that we had a dedicated server with substantial memory and disk. We went through phases where we were suspended from a shared hosting plan, we tried things like nginx, and other apache modifications but it didnt work. It may have been bad code design, but the grunt to cater for the database queries required for all the different addons, modifications eg garage required a dedicated server. We initially started with the planet in the US and were paying close to $1000 a month for hosting, then moved to several dedicated servers with Servers Australia over the years, and last year moved the box to the US to liquidweb due to the cost reductions gained. We were paying close to $500 a month for a server with SAU, that was aging, and had zero support. We now have a dedicated box with 24/7 support at $221 USD per month (around $300 AUD).

 

I agree with you on the technology changing, and should look at some options around cheaper alternatives.

 

Quote

These days you can get SSD powered VPS’ for a 1/4 of that price and still adequately serve with great performance.

 

I’ve got examples running right now that have far greater utilisation than a forum site would have.

Happy for you to give me some recommendations on next steps for this.

 

Quote

How about be factual and provide details about the MySQL database size, storage utilisation, monthly bandwidth utilisation. Being a physical server what cpu and ram configuration does it have? And how many other sites does hostwise solutions also run on the same server?

Server is Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E3-1230 v5 @ 3.40GHz with 32GB of Memory and 2 x 1TB Drives in Raid Configuration (SSD + SATA) + a remote backup solution. We had an issue about a year ago where the server died, and we lost several months worth of data. So this was a must have.

 

This site uses 22GB of Disk, 30% CPU Usage, has a 3.13GB MYSQL DB and averages around 80GB Of traffic a month. It is also using around 2% of available RAM (as of now)

 

Quote

I see that web01 has moved from servers Australia to liquid web around August 2017.

Agreed. Was moved from SAU due to cost to a server that had double the power, for half the cost.

 

Quote

Servers Australia have dedicated servers, 2 socket, 8gb of ram with twin ssd storage at $107/ month. Quite arguably more than enough for this site. Liquid web on the other hand, starting at $199usd/ month for quite a beefy system upgrade.

Quite arguably a question why this site was moved from servers Australia to liquid web a year ago unless there is other drivers for this, 

So begs the question.. what else is this server hosting? There is 26 other reverse resolving sites to the same dedicated server.

In order of transparency the server is also hosting several static websites for myself and friends. It is NOT hosting any business applications. nor services that are resold to other clients. It is also NOT used by my business (other than hosting our static page (landing page).

 

Quote

My original statement still holds, this site shouldn’t cost over $500/year in conventional hosting, but since you are managing director of adviceit / t360 you should know this.

I am not sure how my role has anything to do with the hosting requirements of the site. I am not a server or hosting engineer, and have based the server that it currently sits on from advice of the likes of SAU, and Liquidweb in working out the specs of the site. I have also looked into relevance, eg aging server (with SAU) to something modern with Liquidweb.

 

Quote

Clearly this server is used for that business, not solely for fordxr6turbo.com is it?! given there is only web01.adviceit.com.au and no web02 etc.

As discussed it isnt, and has never been used. If this was the case, the site / server would be self sufficient.

 

Quote

Sorry champ. Cash grab is all I see.

Bold statement, yet incorrect.  It seems to be that we are focused only on the costs of the server hosting. And i am sure by your comments that the upkeep of the site needs to come from somewhere.

 

Domain Renewals

License Renewals - IPB is $100 USD per 6 months + all the other addons eg garage, donations, forum logos, timeslips, messages the list goes on and on. These need to be renewed on a 6 monthly basis.

Developer Costs - I am not a developer, and whilst Keith has alot of involvement in the upkeep of the site from a day to day point of view the last upgrade cost in excess of $1000 as the theme is custom developed, and needs to be recoded everytime there is an upgrade. 

 

Not only that we do not even have the funds to get merchandise made. I know its not important, but we used to have a budget allocated for stickers, tshirts, mugs and even had a dedicated merchanding person. We may be beyond that at the current state, but these are things that we would love to bring back (at least stickers)..

 

I agree with you that we can look at reducing the server / hosting costs 100%, but the sustainability from the current site is just not there, at the current moment, unless we look at either implementing new features (which again costs money) or do things differently.

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My IT knowledge amounts to squat but seems to me there are 2 items to address;

1. Review tech side and make changes where cost-effective to do so

2. On completing 1, review $$ shortfall if any and make a decision on some form of paid access

 

 

Finished yet? :panda:

Edited by camo86T
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I know that throwing money at the site is not the solution, but I used to donate once every year.

It has been a while since I have donated, but I have just donated today.

I think that looking at an alternative hosting site at a reduced cost would be a great idea.

 

I also think that a few of us, like Aaronm have donated in the past without hesitation as we know the value of the site.

It has always been hard to get donations from members as we are a forgetful bunch. I know I am.

At the same time, the donations page seems to have a minimal donation value and I did not see any options to change it.

That doesn't phase me, I have donated today.

 

That being said, I think the landing page for when the donations have been made, needs to be fixed to show any recent donations.

That page has not worked for a while. It should at least acknowledge that a donation has been made, it does not have to say how much though.

I hope this site stays around for another 10 years as that is how long I plan on keeping my falcon(unless it is involved in an accident).

 

As I was typing this message, it seems that the landing page is now working.

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@CJF077 First suggestion is to ditch that dedicated server. Don't need something that powerful.

 

Here is one suggestion https://www.binarylane.com.au/vps-hosting/linux-vps (no affiliation, but I've used mammoth vps's and they also run/host ausgamers community.. Binary Lane are a spin off sister company).

 

They have a $60AU/month VPS, 4core, 8gb of ram, 120gb SSD, and 2500GB monthly transfer. (there is a cpanel one for $20 more if you prefer using cpanel, but I dont recommend running a management layer as doing performance optimisations may not be supported, ie mysql tuning)

 

 

MySQL performance tuning can be optimised to use more memory, because it currently sounds like its not using much at all (it should retain the memory even if the site is quiet)

 

Certainly there is a number of providers in this space in australia, but that's just one example.

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22 hours ago, Dagabond said:

This.

GMH-Torana was running years before this site and is still running today for a 1/4 of the cost.

 

:sofa:

 

there he is.

 

I thought you died...

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Hi

 

For starters, good on you for running the site !

I think you put in alot of time, you can't put in lots of $ as well.

 

A few thoughts: 

 - a subscription will be a bit of a turnoff

 - can you sell more stuff thru the shop and take a fair commission - think Fathers Day, Xmas etc

 - an amount $5 - 40 for classifieds to sell stuff from parts all the way up to cars

 - would Ford donate any stuff for sale ?

 

The XR6T is no longer made (sniff...), and it will be a cult car. Your site will be more and more important !

 

Regards

Peter

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12 hours ago, Panda Eyes said:

there he is.

 

I thought you died...

:electricshock:

My omnipresence has gone beyond the forum...I am now a free entity out on the internuts!! :dagabond:

 

Speaking to Tiny the hosting for GMH had to move from a free server as it was continually crashing the current dedicated host is $230.00 a month then renewal fees for the IP Board software.

There is some kickback from Google ad's but not enough to cover the cost.

We had Rare Spares on as an advertiser with revenue from sales but that has dried up (never thought it would work).

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45 minutes ago, Dagabond said:

Speaking to Tiny the hosting for GMH had to move from a free server as it was continually crashing the current dedicated host is $230.00 a month then renewal fees for the IP Board software.

So similar deal to us?

 

Wonder if some sort of friendly partnership between the 2 forums could in some way be beneficial to both forums?

 

Share a server, split hosting costs, approach advertisers as a united team (offering more than either forum on it's own can do) with payback from both forums going to cover those costs?

Patreon tiers etc could have reciprocating rights across the boards, shared classifieds/forum stores, joint cruises, community and social events etc. Annual cricket match :P

 

Both cars are no longer "current" anymore ;).

 

Maybe it could also be an option to offer other "struggling" car forums into a mutually beneficial arrangement down the track?

Someone mentioned the Silva forum earlier?

 

I'd be prepared to cover the setup costs of any business structure (excluding legal/contract they may wish to put in place) costs required to sit on top of the agreement (eg. Aussie Car Forums Pty Ltd or Inc as a non-profit, with Tiny and @CJF077 as initial directors etc if they wanted to do something like that)?

 

@Dagabond - maybe get your people to talk to our people?

 

 

 

edit: not suggesting the forums merge, both would remain totally independent of each other, just combine the buying and selling power of both to cut costs and increase revenue on both sides.

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6 hours ago, Rab said:

edit: not suggesting the forums merge

Not sure how that would go down...given the complete polar opposites they are....:catfight:

 

There would be enough backlash just being on the same server together!:spit:

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Just wanted to say thank you to all who have responded to this thread. It actually means alot, that people who use the site regularly, and those who have been with us from the start feel so strongly that they needed to comment, or provide recommendations into the future state. It also opens our eyes into seeing that the site is not dead, and has life yet in it. 

 

Thank you to those as well, who have thrown some funds into donations which have enabled us to renew the IPB software for 6 months. 

 

It is actually nice to see some of our friends from day one @Dagabond@EvilDaifu and others have reared there heads again for a comment or two...

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Ford and Holdan arnt really friends. Makes no difference to me, I have both. They are just cars.........

Edited by arronm

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Personally I think any sort of forced payment or reduced functionality will kill things.  I think new members are never going to pay initially, and it is only once they have a few questions answered, maybe start participating in some off topic threads, etc. that they start to feel at home here and may want to contribute.  So reducing functionality for free members may achieve the opposite of what we want.

 

A regular payment option is a good idea and I'd certainly sign up to that - this site has been a lot of fun and has saved me plenty.  For anyone not signed up to a regular amount, the idea of a periodic reminder is a good one too.  Birthdays, as suggested above, or maybe every 100 posts or something.

 

Revenue is one thing, but people have obviously raised some good questions about whether costs can be reduced.  Maybe they can, maybe they can't, but it is an important first step to confirm that.

 

Once that is done, it could be good to have a bit of a campaign where we say if X number of people signed up to $Y per month, we would cover the monthly costs. I reckon we'd get a long way.  Ultimately, if this thing is going to live on, it is probably dependent on a core group to cover the costs.   Hopefully most people, once they become rusted on participants, can see the value in that.  And not be disgruntled at the freeloaders, because the site needs traffic and activity to be healthy, not just money to cover costs.

 

Sorry - don't think I added anything new!  Just summarised my two cents worth on the above.

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Wow, been 18 months since my last visit- didn't realise it was so long.

I think I just got over all the getting logged in as someone else crap that went on and on..

I assume its all fixored now, and agree with most of whats already been said, it would be a crying shame to loose the massive database of knowledge this site offers.

 

I too have been involved in running a forum, and saw F.B. kill it as users just love the interface/ pokies style instant gratification bullsh1t that F.B. offers.

Im sure we will come up with a solution, I think patreon would be great as we could set up a regular payment of whatever size and it just happens, Its really easy to forget with all the other pressures life brings us.

For my sins of being AWOL from the forum I have chucked a hundy in the donations.

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love ya work, matey :spoton: yep; the issue was fixed a while back... was a PITA to diagnose and fix, but it's done.

 

edit: from memory you're from NZ. check out this thread ->
https://www.fordxr6turbo.com/forum/topic/93789-nz-cruise-2018-sept-south-island/?do=getNewComment

Edited by k31th
added cruise link

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Any thoughts yet @CJF077?

 

Seems to be a general consensus that a Patreon method of optional donating would have at least a few people happy to throw in some cash each month.

 

Why not get one up and running before we make any other changes.

 

It may go no where, but it may end up being all that's needed to take the pressure of funding the site from yourself. 

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